And I was there, Taormina, June 1, 2017 ~ by Mealani Evensen, Hawaii, USA

Mealani wrote to the Flight Crew to share her marvelous story way back in June!  I apologize that I am just getting to it now.

Aloha to the Flight Crew! What a wonderful time we had in Italy. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you without merely repeating what others have already described so eloquently. The boys were everywhere. I bumped into them repeatedly. Yet I felt so oddly protective and didn’t want to invade their space. (I know, I can hear that collective sigh. Silly me) For the most part, I was content to bask in their aura and breathe the same air. . . although I was blessed to have a moment with Piero that will live with me forever. What a kind and gracious soul.

We’ve been home for over a week now and I’m still feeling the lingering jet lag. It’s a very long trip from Hawaii to Italy. There’s a 12 hour time difference. Day becomes night. And I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.

“For the last couple of years I’ve gained so much pleasure reading the articles and comments from the Crew, it feels rude to not share.”

My cousin, Melinda, planned this trip for months. It was my Christmas present. That sounds so casual, but it was a very big deal for both of us. While Melinda is fairly well traveled, I am not.

We both have obligations at home and . . . we’re not rich. But she explained to me that life is all about creating memories. It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Il Volo perform in their home country. Now, that’s a memory I have forever.

The flight from Honolulu to JFK is about 10 hours. We had a long layover and then another 9 hour flight to Rome where we spent the next 4 days. What an amazing city. mealani hawaiiFour days are not nearly enough but we had a concert to get to. From Rome it was a short flight to Catania and then another hours drive to Taormina. What a sweet little town. Kind of reminds me of home. There are some of the same plants, an active volcano, beautiful beaches, lots of tourists and locals that speak a language most Americans can’t understand.

We arrived a couple of days before the June 1st concert. Our B&B was a 5-minute walk from Bam Bar. From day one we had Il Volo sightings, mostly Piero. He was there every day. However, I felt oddly guilty of being yet another crazed fan with a camera, so we generally kept our distance. But on one occasion, I saw him walking up a flight of stairs with a couple of young ladies and I couldn’t resist. I called out to him and explained that I’d traveled a very long way to hear him sing. He was so kind and gracious, pausing to give me a hug and kiss and chat for a minute. Such a gentleman. Unfortunately, his female companions were less than thrilled. One of them was giving me the stare down of my life. It looked like she was planning to put my head on a stick and parade it around town. Sorry dear. Too bad, so sad.

On another evening, we were having dinner in a cafe across from Bam Bar and I heard Piero’s voice. Not his singing voice, which is easy to identify, but his speaking voice. He and his sister were there enjoying the early evening. In fact, the video of the Sicilian band was taken then. If I’d panned my camera just a few feet to the right you would have seen them. I know. Pretty foolish. But the mother hen in me wanted to protect their privacy.


The video of the boys singing with that same band was a scene I witnessed on two different evenings. There was always a small crowd but the guys looked so comfortable. Genuinely happy to be there. They would sing a couple of numbers, mingle with the fans, carry their children, pose for pictures. . . It was truly heartwarming.


Of course, the highlight of our adventure was the concert. Extraordinary music in a breathtaking venue. The boys sang with such passion and tenderness. It was phenomenal! My favorite moment was when Piero went to sit in the audience with his nonno while one of the other guys performed. They closed the show with Grande Amore.


I hope the video gives you a taste of the warmth and love we shared as an audience. Sadly, we did not attend the Meet and Greet. It was crazy expensive and our experience in San Diego the year before was a bit disappointing. So no, we didn’t do that.

It was an unbelievable adventure. While I hope to return someday to see more of Italy, my heart remains in Taormina.

Until then, ciao and aloha – Mealani, Hawaii USA



16 thoughts on “And I was there, Taormina, June 1, 2017 ~ by Mealani Evensen, Hawaii, USA”

  1. Mealani, what a beautiful story! I admire you for being so gracious as to give the guys space and not take every photo op that came along. I know how tempting that must have been. They are such a phenomenon and draw a crowd wherever they go. What an awesome cousin you have!! Yours was truly a trip of a lifetime! Grazie for sharing!!

  2. I loved your story, it felt so personal. I’ve been to Taormina, so could easily picture how exciting it must have been to run into Piero. And I bet he appreciates your thoughtfulness, and not chase him with a camera. Did you get to look into his beautiful expressive eyes? Your trip truly sounds like a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Aloha Mealani: You truly have made some incredible memories. I also visited Taromina a number of years ago. It is a beautiful and a most scenic town. Love your account of Il Volo sightings. How wonderful for you to be able to attend the concert there. I may have to put an Il Volo concert there on my wish list!! Ciao

    1. HI A netted
      It was on my wish list and couldn’t convince my husband we should do this. Now I’m really mad… Piero sightings! I would melt right there.

    2. HI Annette
      It was on my wish list and couldn’t convince my husband we should do this. Now I’m really mad… Piero sightings! I would melt right there.

      1. Hi Barbara: I would have melted also!! I have been to several concerts here but I am not sure any of our venues can compare to a Taromina or a Verona! The atmosphere must be just breathtaking!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience. Best Christmas present ever! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

  5. thanks for sharing Mealani. I would also have melted if Piero was even within my sight. I got a hug from him at the Las Vegas fan faire and will remember it always. Joanie G

  6. Mealani what a beautiful experience you had, and how good your cousin was to convince you, now you certainly have so many beautiful memories. Taormina is gorgeous and meeting the guys several times and seeing their concert has to be a unique experience.
    I admire the fact that you have traveled so long to be in this concert and admire even more the privacy you left to our guys.
    Who knows maybe we will meet in their concert one day.

  7. Thank you Mealani how I wish I could have been there. I hope I would have had the restraint you had taking pictures so as not to make a fool of myself because I would have loved to have kissed Ignazio silly. He has seen me & knows me a bit as a fan so maybe he wouldn’t have run too far. I haven’t been too successful enticing my son to go to Italy so I am not afraid to go there by myself. But it would be more fun with someone. Now you have time to save up for the next concert.

  8. Thanks Mealani for taking me, through your travels, on a visit to Taormina. What an exciting time you had ,a never to be forgotten trip and experience. Hopefully there will be many more !!

  9. Mealani – I hope you are able to log in and read all of the beautiful comments here!! I told you it was a great story!! Thank you so much, again, for sharing! 🙂

  10. Thank you Mealani for sharing your beautiful experience in Taormina for Il Volo’s concert. How wonderful that you and your cousin Melinda were able to make this beautiful memory and to have seen Piero, Ignazio and Gialuca in various locations just relaxing and having fun. I don’t know how you were able to resist taking pictures but I’m sure they appreciate it. I would love to see an Il Volo concert in Taormina!

  11. This is so utterly charming.
    Thank you, Mealani, for sharing your sweet story with us.
    What a grand experience to go to Taormina for their and your Notte Magica.
    And not less grand to meet up with the guys, and Piero, on the side several times, at casual, comfortable, relaxed moments. How lovely. how heartwarming. how special. How fortunate. How wonderful.

  12. You are all so sweet. And I’m having a bit of a geek moment as I look at the names above. . . All of you that I’ve come to know and admire. You are what makes this site so special. Thank you for indulging me. There was so much more to say yet I thought it best to keep things simple. And sadly right now is not a good time for me to fill in
    the blanks. I’m fine but things are crazy at home right now. I need a few days to let the dust settle. Love you all.

  13. Thank you Mealani for that beautiful story. I finally am catching up with my emails. I know it is something you will never forget. It’s the little things that make meeting the boys so memorable. I’m so glad you told us about your experience. It was delightful.

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